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JAMA 100 Years Ago
October 2, 2002


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2002;288(13):1660. doi:10.1001/jama.288.13.1660-JJY20030-3-1

It was a distinguished English novelist who remarked that clothes were a very small matter to a man; he could get along without them if the conventionalities and climate permitted, but they are everything to a woman. This sociologic and psychologic fact apparently has its bearings on the fitness of woman to practice medicine, at least according to the British experience. According to a transatlantic contemporary, the British woman who is a physician has been found to be seriously handicapped by the numerous solemn rites she has to go through before she can permit herself to appear in public, and the time thus consumed appears unduly long to those who urgently want her services. This matter has even been the subject of official attention over there, for we read of what was at least an implied censure by a coroner's jury of a board of infirmary guardians for not having a male physician on hand to receive emergency cases. We are more patient and long suffering on this side of the Atlantic or our American women are more expeditious, for such complaints have not so far come to our knowledge. There may be something in the unstimulating atmosphere of the British Isles that causes undue delays in the necessary prinking that a lady must go through even to meet only accident victims and ambulance drivers. Our British lady confrères—or perhaps we should say consoeurs—will, of course, rise to the occasion in some way and be a little more strenuous in toilet expedition.